I’ve always loved Mexico. The language, the culture, the beautiful and super-friendly people are all right up my street. And of course, the delicious food.
Mexican street food has seen a resurgence in in popularity over the last few years which has seen a number of pretty ordinary eateries popping up trying to cash in on the fad. So how do you sort out the wheat from the chaff? Well social media has gone mad for one compact Jewellery Quarter restaurant, so we thought we’d better pop along and see what the fuss was all about.
Tierra Tacos has been masterminded by the people behind Tiger Bites Pig so expectations were high. Firstly, it’s probably worth noting that it was so compact, we managed to walk past the restaurant twice, such is its modesty. But my goodness we’re glad we persevered. Once inside, the modesty continued. Pale green tiles, the odd plant, simple furniture and paper menus are the order of the day.
The menu is mouth-watering. We could have grazed our way through most of it given an afternoon off, but deadlines schmeadlines… you know how it is! We ordered a couple of small plates and two versions of tacos. Scorched Padron peppers with chipotle sea salt were a great start and things got even better from there. I’ve never rated black beans, but it turns out I’ve just not done them right. Tierra’s frijoles were smoky, rich, slow cooked and topped with crumbled Lancashire cheese and bags of coriander served with a bowl of totopos (tortilla chips) to scoop up the black stuff. Superb.
Onto the tacos all of them hand pressed corn tortillas with various inventive toppings. The pork carnitas hit the spot – succulent slow roast pork served with red cabbage, pickled onions, caramelised mezcal pineapple, pumpkin seeds and coriander. That sounds like a lot of ingredients that might be fighting with one another, but the flavours were balanced brilliantly. Beef barbacoa – oak smoked brisket with diced onion, pickled white cabbage and coriander again tasted superb. A word to the wise – if you don’t like coriander, it’s probably worth mentioning. We love it, so it wasn’t an issue, but there was a fair bit.
We were bowled over by the food, but the price delighted too. One portion of tacos – you get two per portion – costs £7. Our entire lunch bill for two including a couple of beers was just over £30. You’d be hard pushed to enjoy even an average meal for that, let alone one as brilliant and accomplished as this. It might look casual, but someone has thought through every tiny detail. Go.